Globally Harmonized System’s (GHS)
Classification and Labeling of Chemicals
Hazard Communication Standard (HCS)
Globally Harmonized System
The following slides contain information you should know regarding
OSHA’s updated Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) and
the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of
Chemicals (GHS).
GHS and HazComm
HazCom 2012: OSHA standard 29CFR 1910.1200, modified in
to state that the United States will abide by
and train on the new GHS
criteria, including
Hazard Classifications, Labels, Safety Data Sheets
(SDS) and Training
GHS: provides a single set of harmonized criteria for classifying
chemicals according to their health and physical hazards;
specifies required hazard communication elements and
formats for labeling and Safety Data Sheets (SDS)
The official guide to the new Hazard Communication Standard
(HazCom 2012) is called the The Purple Book:
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of
Chemicals (GHS)
and may be found on OSHA’s website:
OSHA’s video explaining these changes:
GHS and HazComm
From the Purple Book, the reason OSHA is adopting this new system:
It is anticipated that application of the GHS will:
• Enhance the protection of human health and the environment by providing an
internationally comprehensible system
• Provide a recognized framework to develop regulations for those countries without
existing systems
• Facilitate international trade in chemicals whose hazards have been identified on an
international basis
• Reduce the need for testing and evaluation against multiple classification systems
The tangible benefits to governments are:
Fewer chemical accidents and incidents
Lower health care costs
Improved protection of workers and the public from chemical hazards
Avoiding duplication of effort in creating national systems
Reduction in the costs of enforcement
Improved reputation on chemical issues, both domestically and internationally
GHS and HazComm
cont. - From the Purple Book, the reason OSHA is adopting this new system:
Some of the benefits to companies listed in the Purple Book include:
safer work environment
increased efficiency
maximize expert resources
reduced costs due to fewer accidents and illnesses
improved corporate image and credibility
Benefits to workers and members of the public include:
• improved safety through consistent and simplified communications on chemical
hazards and practices
• greater awareness of hazards, resulting in safer use of chemicals
GHS and HazComm
The reason OSHA is adopting this new system:
Facts about GHS:
• It was developed by the United Nations as a way to collaborate agreement on chemical
regulations and standards with participating countries.
• It is hoped that GHS will make international sale and transportation of hazardous chemicals easier
and make workplace conditions safer.
• U.S. officially adopted GHS on March 26, 2012. OSHA’s adoption is actually a revision of the
HCS to align with GHS. OSHA calls this revision HazCom 2012.
• GHS is not a global law or regulation, but a set of recommendations or collection of best
practices. No country is obligated to adopt all or any part of the GHS. Countries can pick and
choose which parts of the GHS they wish to incorporate into their own regulations, and they are
responsible for its enforcement.
• To date, over 65 countries have adopted GHS or are in the process of doing so.
• Biggest changes for those adopting GHS will be safety labels, SDSs, and chemical classification.
• Biggest costs to businesses is to re-classify all chemicals using GHS criteria and train workers on
these changes.
GHS and HazComm
The reason OSHA is adopting this new system:
Facts about GHS (cont.):
GHS is meant to be a logical and comprehensive approach to:
1. Defining health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals (although environmental
hazards are outside OSHA’s jurisdiction)
2. Creating classification processes that use available data on chemicals for comparison with the
defined hazard criteria
3. Communicating hazard information in a prescribed and uniform way on labels and SDS
 In the U.S., GHS adoption is under the domain of OSHA, EPA, DOT and Consumer Product
Safety Commission (CPSC).
 DOT was actually the first agency to implement GHS; OSHA’s adoption brings the
regulations between these two agencies into greater harmony. EPA is expected to quickly
follow with revisions to its standards to align them with GHS.
1. Hazard classification
2. Labels
• manufacturers’ labels
• secondary or workplace (secondary to the original container) labels
3. Safety Data Sheets (SDS) – formerly called Material Safety Data
Sheets (MSDS)
GHS – Containers Received
Labels are more prescriptive, and include six standard elements:
1. Product Identifier (chemical name) matching the product identifier on the SDS
2. Suppler Information including name, address and phone number of
responsible party
3. Signal Word, either “Danger” or “Warning” depending upon severity
4. Pictogram(s), black hazard symbols on white background with red diamond
borders that provide a quick visual reference of hazard information
5. Hazard Statement(s) that describe the nature of the hazard and/or its
6. Precautionary Statement(s) that provide important information on the safe
handling, storage and disposal of the chemical
GHS - Pictograms
Skull and Crossbones
• Acute Toxicity (fatal or toxic)
Gas Cylinder
• Gases Under Pressure
Environment (Non-Mandatory)
• Aquatic Toxicity
Exploding Bomb
• Explosives
• Self Reactives
• Organic Peroxides
Flame Over Circle
• Oxidizers
Exclamation Mark
• Irritant (skin and eye)
• Skin Sensitizer
• Acute Toxicity
• Narcotic Effects
• Respiratory Tract Irritant
• Hazardous to Ozone Layer
• Skin Corrosion/Burns
• Eye Damage
• Corrosive to Metals
• Flammables
• Pyrophorics
• Self-Heating
• Emits Flammable Gas
• Self Reactives
• Organic Peroxides
Health Hazard
• Carcinogen
• Mutagen
• Reproductive Toxicity
• Respiratory Sensitizer
• Target Organ Toxicity
• Aspiration Toxicity
GHS – Workplace (Secondary) Labels
 Secondary containers MUST have
labels (chemical name) and a hazard
label identifying its hazard. Use one
of the nine pictograms on the right;
alternately, a National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA)
diamond or Hazardous Material
Identification System (HMIS) sticker
may still be used for this.
 OSHA (DNR, EPA) may fine without
these two pieces of information.
 OSHA dictates that SDSs will use the
sanctioned pictograms to communicate
the chemical’s hazard.
GHS – Labels, confusing anomaly?
(From MSDSonline article titled “NFPA, HMIS and OSHA’s GHS Aligned Hazard Communication Standard”)
“An important difference between NFPA/HMIS systems and GHS/HazCom 2012 is the
way they use numbers. The numbers in the GHS system, as adopted by OSHA, do not
show up on the label, instead they are used to determine what goes on the label. The
numbers do appear on GHS formatted safety data sheets, in Section 2, but OSHA
believes the use of numbers there will be less confusing since there is much more
contextual information available to help the reader understand the hazard information. In
the NFPA and HMIS systems, the numbers themselves appear on the label and are used to
communicate information about the hazard.”
GHS – Labels, confusing anomaly?
Part of section 2 from Sigma-Aldrich’s SDS
for Hydrofluoric Acid
Note the difference between GHS
Classification and HMIS and NFPA
GHS: the lower the categorization
number, the greater the severity of
the hazard. No numbers on the
NFPA and HMIS: the higher the
number, the greater the severity.
Number are on the labels.
NFPA diamond
for HF:
HMIS Sticker:
GHS – Workplace (Secondary) Labels
To test for compliance in secondary labeling answer these
two questions:
1. What is this chemical (chemical name)?
2. What are the hazards of this chemical?
Make sure you know your system for labeling secondary
containers. This system should be standard throughout your
Keep SDSs for 30 years, whether or not you still have the chemical.
Keep SDSs for 30 years, whether or not you still have the chemical.
Chemicals in your lab – KEEP A CURRENT INVENTORY
 Employees must know the system used in their workplace. At
S&T we use on-line resources and hard copy.
 When searching online for a SDS be sure to search on the
chemical’s manufacturer’s website.
 For very hazardous chemicals (example – hydrofluoric acid)
have a hard copy in your laboratory.
 SDS must be readily accessible in a known location.
 For general searches, links to SDS search addresses are
available through Environmental Health & Safety’s home
page and Chemtrack.
GHS: Changes Required to be Implemented

Globally Harmonized System - Environmental Health and Safety